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NFC NORTH: 3 Preseason Week 1 takeaways for each team

The four teams in the NFC North got the first glimpse of their rosters in game action this past week in Preseason Week 1. Like all preseason contests, there were some good things and some things coaches want to see cleaned up, but overall, it was a good weekend with a lot to build on.

Here are three quick observations from each of the preseason games for Detroit, Green Bay, Chicago and Minnesota over the weekend:


Preseason record: 1-0

Last contest: Chicago 20, Miami 13


1. Rookie first-round pick Justin Fields looked very good in his preseason debut at quarterback for the Bears. He played 33 snaps and completed 14-of-20 passes for 142 yards with a touchdown, no interceptions and a 106.7 passer rating. He also rushed five times for 33 yards (6.6 average) with a rushing touchdown. It's only the preseason, but Fields looked poised in the pocket and his athleticism was clearly evident. If he keeps playing like that, the noise to start him over Andy Dalton will get louder and louder in Chicago.

2. Dalton and the first-team offense played only the first two series. Dalton completed 2-of-4 passes for 18 yards. Starting running back David Montgomery had one carry for three yards. Star wide receiver Allen Robinson did not play.

3. It was rare to see Chicago's takeaways on defense last year towards the bottom of the NFL with only 18. New coordinator Sean Desai wants to see that number increase. It was a good start against Miami with an interception and a fumble recovery.

Quotable: "I thought that Justin did a great job of worrying about today and he played smart football," Bears head coach Matt Nagy told ESPN after the game. "He made plays, and again like what you just said, it is preseason, and we all understand that there's variables involved in all that. But at the same time, if you go back and look, is he doing what you want him to do, absolutely."

Next up: Buffalo at Chicago, Sat. Aug. 21, 1 p.m.


Preseason record: 0-1

Last contest: Houston 26, Green Bay 7


1. Jordan Love had a solid performance at quarterback for Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers sitting this one out. Love completed 12-of-17 passes for 122 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions for a 110.4 passer rating. But Love also injured his shoulder taking a sack in the second quarter. An MRI was negative, but it's something that could make him miss some practice time and potentially the next preseason game vs. the Jets, who are also expected to have joint practices with Packers this week.

2. The Packers didn't dress 30 players for Saturday's game, including Rodgers, wide receiver Davante Adams, wide receiver Randall Cobb, running back Aaron Jones and most of the defensive starters.

3. Former Michigan Wolverine and NFL journeyman wide receiver Devin Funchess, who opted out of the 2020 season, caught six passes for 70 yards to lead the Packers in receiving.

Quotable: "I think he's doing fine," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told ESPN of Love's injured shoulder. "It's something, though, that is significant enough where he could miss a couple days of practice. We'll see where he's at at the end of the week, but we're going to kind of take it day to day."

Next up: New York Jets at Green Bay, Sat. Aug. 21, 4:25 p.m.


Preseason record: 0-1

Last contest: Denver 33, Minnesota 6


1. The Vikings gave 31 players the day off in the preseason opener. Just about every meaningful starter or contributor sat out vs. Denver, which is why people shouldn't be surprised at this final score.

2. Minnesota was one of the worst special teams units last season (ranked 31st in Rick Gosselin's 2020 special teams rankings), and are trying to improve that mark under new coordinator Ryan Ficken. It wasn't a great start on teams for the Vikings. They gave up a 62-yard kickoff return, averaged just 40.5 yards per punt and didn't do much in the return game.

3. Third-round draft pick Kellen Mond looked like a rookie quarterback who missed a lot of practice time this camp due to being on the COVID-19 list. Mond completed six of his 16 pass attempts for 53 yards with a 47.1 passer rating. He also ran five times for 25 yards.

Quotable: "He was OK," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said of Mond's performance. "He used his legs a couple of times. He just has to get moving a little quicker. Everything is like in slow motion with him."

Next up: Indianapolis at Minnesota, Sat. Aug. 21, 7 p.m.


Preseason record: 0-1

Last contest: Buffalo 16, Detroit 15


1. Veteran quarterback Jared Goff was solid in his Lions debut. After nearly throwing a pick on his first pass attempt and then getting sacked on his third snap, Goff settled down nicely and led an 18-play, 70-yard scoring drive on his next possession, completing 7-of-8 passes for 56 yards on the drive.

2. The Lions have to replace kicker Matt Prater after he left for Arizona in free agency. It's been an up-and-down training camp so far for Detroit's kickers, but Randy Bullock did a solid job Friday night against the Bills, converting on all three of his attempts (28 yards, 27, 28).

3. The most noticeable change for Lions fans is going to be what they see on defense from the team in 2020 with a new coordinator and new scheme. It was a solid start for most of the defensive starters in their two series of work against the Bills. Detroit's starters allowed 46 yards of offense and three points in their two series.

Quotable: "This is also about evaluating the talent and giving these guys an opportunity to run the ball, catch the ball, pressure, stunt, cover, all those things," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said. "We got a really good look at guys, special teams-wise as well. I'll tell you what, the energy out there was outstanding for a preseason game. I mean, it was - our guys can feel it. That was pretty impressive."

Next up: Detroit at Pittsburgh, Sat. Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m.

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